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Human hydrographical changes interact with propagule predation behaviour in Sri Lankan mangrove forests
Dahdouh-Guebas, F.; Koedam, N.; Satyanarayana, B.; Cannicci, S. (2011). Human hydrographical changes interact with propagule predation behaviour in Sri Lankan mangrove forests. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 399(2): 188-200.
In: Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. Elsevier: New York. ISSN 0022-0981; e-ISSN 1879-1697, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Gastropoda [WoRMS]; Grapsidae MacLeay, 1838 [WoRMS]
Author keywords
    Biocomplexity; Crab; Feeding behaviour; Gastropod; Hydrography;

Authors  Top 
  • Dahdouh-Guebas, F., more
  • Koedam, N., more
  • Satyanarayana, B., more
  • Cannicci, S.

    For mangroves with almost no tidal influence and a subsequent mosaic vegetation structure we describe the relation between propagule predators and both vegetation structure and environmental factors on a vegetation assemblage or 'forest patch' level. We then report the interaction between natural propagule predation and human influence. In different forest patches dominated by Avicennia officinalis, Excoecaria agallocha, Lumnitzera racemosa, Rhizophora apiculata or R. mucronata or in open or mixed areas identified from aerial photographs, the predation on propagules of A. officinalis, B. gymnorrhiza, It apiculata and R. mucronata was monitored in a total of 24 experimental plots (3 per forest patch). Relationships to environmental factors (topography, water level, rainfall and season) on the level of predation were investigated. The highest predation intensity by crabs was on A. officinalis propagules, and in E. agallocha forest patches. Predation by crabs, snails, insects and mammals was observed, and the significant differences in predation intensity across species and across forest patches were explained directly by propagule predator identity and abundance, and by the interaction between rainfall, water level and microtopography. We illustrated how hydrography changes alter the behaviour of propagule predators and play a role in the shaping of vegetation structure by reconstructing the lagoon water level of a site over a period of 50 years based on rainfall data. This time frame covered both a condition without and with human impacts, and past and present propagule predation settings were confronted with the simulated hydrology. The importance of spatial and temporal microhabitat variations in opening multiple successional pathways in vegetation dynamics is illustrated, and is highly relevant for ecosystems with unpredictable or short-lived (<20 years) patchy vegetation structures and microhabitats.

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